When looking at online marketing; people very often forget the benefits of social media as related to actual business objectives. More often than not, this is because a lot of marketers and agencies get lost in the creative execution of a social media campaign and forget that they are as measurable and useful as a regular marketing campaign.
What is the place of social media?
Social media is not going to act as a “sales channel” for your company. Social media fits into the decision making process during the “assessment of alternatives” stage. During this stage, users are typically looking on the internet for products or services that can answer to their needs in the best way possible.
Potential customers are searching and comparing different pieces of information and then interacting with online communities to ensure that they understand what they are reading correctly. They then further their understanding by asking any questions that they might still have.
These sources of info are blog posts, Twitter comments, Facebook groups, pages and then lastly websites.
Why are websites last?
The way that the internet has evolved has allowed users, both advanced and novice, to add their thoughts and opinions on to the internet. This means that company websites are no longer controlling the info that is online. Blogs and social media networks are created by users for other users. The content on here is written from a “client” point of view and has no marketing speak to confuse and otherwise convince users of the opinions that they should be having. This means that internet users looking for “real life” opinions on something are looking to social media.
Companies using social media
This is where social media fits into the online marketing strategy of companies today. It is the understanding that a company can no longer control a conversation, or at least be involved in each one. But your company can join in the conversation and correct any untrue comments.
Listening to complaints ad user comments allows your company to inject trust into the social group by showing that you take their comments seriously. Facilitating the conversation through your own company blog and other social media platforms makes your company approachable and able to capitalize on the online chatter.
Making it all work
Combining a social media campaign with more traditional SEO and PPC Marketing is a sure fire way to ensure that your company is using online conversation to its fullest. The social arena creates conversations around your products, service and brand. Your website then acts as the position of authority where users can navigate for additional information on your company once their information gathering has tielded the results they were looking for.
Understanding how to make social media work for you and achieve marketing objectives is critical to success with both your social media and your website.